This topic can take a lifetime to understand, decades to grasp, and provide a lifetime of joy. Pixels can be spilled over this topic. The war of the pixels can happen, and people from all sides can join in the pixel slaughter. And the war is happening as people debate this controversial topic which shouldn’t be as controversial as some let it become.
People will dispute the Trinity, and call it nonsense. People will dispute the incarnation, and call it silly. But people will argue over the Electing purpose of God, and call it evil, hatred, and wicked. I have seen nothing cause more indignation in American Christians than telling people that God’s word says He chooses His people and elects them, and you cannot come to Christ apart from His calling and choosing you.
Why is this so controversial? I believe because it is not understood. Some people who believe it don’t understand it, others who oppose it often don’t understand it, and I believe because it’s one of those truth’s that God works into a person. It’s a truth that the Holy Spirit must illuminate in the hearts of men. It’s not a doctrine that is easily accepted, understood, or loved. But truly, it is a doctrine that gives the Christian much peace, comfort, joy, and it often brings me to tears.
To simple state the doctrine, if one can simply put it, I would define the Doctrine of Election this way: The sovereign act of God freely choosing whom He wills to be united to Himself for His glory.
Let go to scripture to demonstrate this.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
The emphases are mine. Let us take a quick view of this passage. We have Paul, who is writing to saints, is beginning verse three with a blessing and praise to God. This praise to God is a praise that has to do with the saints being blessed in Christ. Paul says these blessings are spiritual and are in the heavenly places. He then makes the connection between these spiritual blessings the saints received in Christ with the fact that those whom God the Father are blessing have also received the blessing of being chosen before the foundation of the world. Notice the pronoun “us.” Us meaning Paul and the saints he is writing to. Paul is writing to the saints and not to the whole world. Which means that when he says “before the foundation of the world,” we cannot second guess what Paul is saying.
Paul is saying this: “Us saints have been given a huge and tremendous blessing, one that is spiritual and in the heavenly places, grand and glorious, in the same way that we were chosen in Christ by God the Father before the foundation of the world.” There is no getting around this passage. The pronoun is personal. The act of blessing is personal. This whole passage is personal. These things were done for a particular people. These things were done to a particular people. And those people are the saints. God chose the saints. He chose them. And he chose them before there was any earth. Before the sky existed. Before the sea roared. The Father chose these people in Christ before Adam and Eve sinned. God knew, He had planned, He had purposed. He knew the fall would happen. He planned for it before the Earth was even laid.
As some people say, there was no plan B. Before God created the world, Jesus coming and dying was the plan. A people being united to Christ was the plan. God knew who would exist, what would happen. God decided who would be His people. This was all a work of God. He chose the people.
If that wasn’t enough for you, the next verse says, “In love he predestined.” Predestined. Determined before hand. He destined. It was going to happen and there was no way around it. He predestined a people to become his sons by the work of Jesus Christ. His plan; His predestining. This was before the foundation of the world. And if you have any doubt who this was for, Paul writes, “according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” Paul is quite literally saying, “God predestined a people to be adopted to himself, not because the people asked, not because someone told him it would be a good idea, but because before the foundation of the world God had this purpose and plan, and he was going to do it according to that purpose, he was going to do it according to his will.”
But if that wasn’t enough, if you didn’t get that it was according to God’s plan and not man’s, Paul added, “to the praise of his glorious grace.” Meaning that this was done according to his purpose for his praise. When we say, “to the praise,” it is like saying, “for the purpose of,” or “aiming towards” or “for the reason of.” This was done, on God’s terms, before man existed, because God decided it to be so, without the counsel of man, solely based upon His purpose, solely based upon His work, solely based upon his will, to the purpose of of his praise and for His glory.
This is merely one of many passages. But I hope this was enough to begin opening people’s eyes to God’s act of electing a people. Praise God for this! If I hadn’t been chosen then I would have never known Christ.